January 5

“See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6)

Israel, God’s chosen people were to keep God’s commands and not let go of them. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses reviews God’s instructions to the nation in order that they will remember and teach their children all God had taught them about himself and living for Him as a testimony to the world. Israel’s ways were to be God’s ways, in contrast to the customs and beliefs of the rest of the world. The prophet Jeremiah reminded Israel of their unique calling: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

 God has always been counter-cultural theologically and practically. The calling for His chosen people of Israel is a picture of the calling we have in Christ—to belong to God, being sanctified, and consecrated to the Lord, devoted to Him. Just as the nation of Israel was to be loyal to God, through His power, Christians are called to be holy and devoted to Christ, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Chapter 1, James, the Apostle defines religion that is “pure and undefiled before God” (v. 27). The second part of his definition is no less important than caring for widows and orphans: “to keep oneself unstained from the world.” If we belong to Christ we also must be counter-cultural theologically and practically. Evidence of our belonging to Christ, by God’s grace alone, includes our desire and ability to live by God’s wisdom rather than by the world’s simulated, artificial, and inferior imitation. This requires sincere and focused prayer, as the apostle notes in James 1:5-8 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” In what areas of life do you doubt the wisdom of God and yield to the world’s influence? Will you identify three areas in which you will seek the wisdom of God, asking and accepting His help to fight the strong cultural pressure to conform?

January 4

“Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, ‘Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number’… But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing.’” (1 Chronicles 21:1-2, 7-8)

The elect in Christ will not be deterred by the devil’s schemes, but we are not immune to the temporary effects of his plots, as he “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). God, in His grace, offers biblical accounts with warnings, so that the wise may be prepared for Satan’s attempts at diversion. In 1 Chronicles 21:1-17 there is a true account of Satan seeking to discredit Israel by influencing David, through doubt, to number the men of Israel, in direct opposition to the advice of his commander (v. 3). Wisely, David recognized his sin and repented. However, when Israel suffered grave consequences of David’s foolishness, Satan had a bit of a victory—but not the ruin he had hoped to achieve.

We may also study the Book of Job and the ministry of Jesus Christ to see all the advances of Satan seeking to interfere with God’s plans. Only the wisdom of God in Christ overcomes the devil’s meddling.

How does Satan use your fears, doubts, and anxieties to disrupt your reliance on God’s wisdom?

January 3

January 3

“The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.” (Mark 4:14-15)

There are two primary problems with the world’s version of wisdom, from a biblical worldview. Since Satan is the ruler of this world (Ephesians 6:11-12; 2 Corinthians 4:4), he is also the source of this worldly wisdom. Therefore, what the world calls wisdom, God calls darkness and lies (John 8:44). The second deficiency of worldly wisdom is that everything on this earth is temporal, fleeting, and without eternal value.

 

True biblical wisdom cannot be found in the world. The world will contrive to imitate wisdom by manipulation, scheming, intrigue, mystery, and strategy. Only by knowing biblical, godly wisdom can we identify false “wisdom” in ourselves and in others. The twenty-first century finds the world immersed in emotional and relative “truth.” Satan delights in having people believe that truth is based merely on their experience or feelings, hardening hearts and minds to God’s absolute truth and wisdom. He works to keep the elect from salvation in Christ and to discourage the regenerate. Worldly people speak blasphemous things against the Lord, and try to persuade others not to serve Him, arguing against righteous living. They, like Satan himself, rejoice in calling good “evil” and evil “good.” It is sport to fools to engage in mischief, whether or not they recognize the consequences. Will you ask God to help you discern and reject worldly wisdom? Immersing, bathing, engaging ourselves in Scripture is required, in order to recognize the truth.

January 2

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” (John 1:9-10)

A non-biblical worldview holds that wisdom is found in characteristics such as personal intelligence, power, and shrewd decisions, which are imitations of God’s perfect wisdom. Some powerful people in the Bible recognized the limitations of this fake wisdom and sought a superior wisdom from God. Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Queen Esther, David, Nicodemus, and Paul, are a few individuals who recognized the supremacy of God’s intelligence. The New Testament is especially instructive—the only way to obtain true wisdom from God is to submit to Jesus Christ, who is “the power of God and wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). Christ is the ultimate personification of godly wisdom; those who draw close to Him will find the wisdom that the world seeks, but cannot find. He is “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14) and “the exact imprint of God’s nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Therefore, walking in the path of wisdom requires submission to Christ and the courage to be counter-cultural.

 

Personal conviction of biblical truth emboldens us when we are surrounded by worldly influences. The grace and love of Christ in us, in the dwelling Holy Spirit quiets our desperation to and gives us the perspective, peace, and timeliness needed to share our hearts winsomely with those who need to hear the gospel. But we must first demonstrate that Christ is the “wisdom of God” in our lives. So, let us ask ourselves, “Do my values, choices, and decisions reflect Christ’s wisdom?”

 

January 1

January 1   

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7)

The Bible informs us that true, righteous wisdom is found only in God. Success in obtaining this wisdom requires understanding and appropriating trust in God over and above any faith we have in anyone or anything else. As long as we agree with and rely on worldly experiences, opinions, knowledge and understanding, we will be opposed to godly wisdom. For Christians, there are only two paths: the wisdom of God or our own foolish understanding. Our sin nature concurs with the ungodly path, which is encouraged by the world, with which we should contend. Victorious Christian discipleship depends on a biblical worldview.

The development of wisdom occurs through the same avenue as the development of all spiritual fruit, from the inside out, in the heart and mind first. This necessitates honest self-examination under the influence of the Holy Spirit and a desire to practice new approaches to daily living, with God’s help, for His glory. By fulfilling our calling to live by God’s grace, believers will find healing and refreshment in the benefits of wisdom. This year, do you want to make wise financial decisions? Are you concerned about your children’s spiritual training or their future education? Would you like wisdom for your marriage or friendships? Which path will you choose?